Thursday, March 6, 2014
Hello my friends,
I'm sorry I've been a little MIA. It's been for good reasons, some of which I can share and some of which I hope to share soon (no this isn't a pregnancy announcement!) but for any reason, I'm sorry I haven't been writing as much the past few weeks for those of you who check in here!
This morning I decided to do a good deep cleaning of our place. Nothing too fancy, but taking the extra time to clean baseboards, wipe down walls where it was needed, organize the toys and throw out the old or broken ones, you know the drill (unless of course you don't clean your house or someone does for you, to which I say lucky you!).
As I was cleaning, and looking over at my girls playing (hooray!), I kept thinking about the need for a good deep cleaning every now and then in our lives. Most of the time in my house doing the dishes and light pick up is good enough, and as long as I do a daily sweep to put things away and keep the kitchen looking good, our house is in pretty good order. But every few weeks the house needs a little more love, and when I take the time to do a deep clean it feels so good!
Aren't our lives the same? When we're trying to live right, most of the time our lives just need upkeep, but every once in a while it's important to do a good deep clean. It is so healthy to take an inventory of our lives and see what is out of place, if our priorities are in order, if our relationships are strong, and if God is central to our life. Sometimes it may lead us to more serious repentance, and sometimes we may be inspired to simply make smaller course corrections, but every time it brings satisfaction and added peace.
There is nothing like a good deep clean, whether for our homes, or for our spirits!
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Sorry for the late Scripture Sunday, but today we've been busy celebrating one of the most important people in my life, the little girl that made me a mother for the first time exactly two years ago.
Words aren't sufficient to explain how her life has changed mine. In just two years she has brought me more joy than I knew was possible. She’s motivated me to be the best person I can be.
She has been through so much this last year, and couldn't have handled it better. I’m so proud of her.
I hope to be the mother you deserve sweet Tillie Rose, and am so grateful to celebrate your life today.
Truly children are an heritage of the Lord.
|I love these simple prints via Brigette Turner @ etsy|
Feeling so blessed to be a mother today.
Friday, February 28, 2014
I never cease to be surprised by the little lessons I’m taught while watching my children. (I guess really the lessons are everywhere around us—I just happen to spend a lot of time with kids these days…but I digress).
Last week Tillie was trying to figure out how to make a pinwheel spin. At first I showed her how it worked, blowing into the pinwheel to make it go around and around. She immediately tried to copy me, holding the pinwheel and blowing as well. She began by blowing softly, but after that didn't work she desperately blew as hard as she could (in pretty much every direction but the pinwheel). Despite her best efforts, it didn't spin an inch. It was humorous at first, but then my heart went out to her I watched her try so hard with no results. I could see in her sweet determined face that she believed that she just had to blow harder! I tried for a few minutes to explain to her that it didn't matter how hard she blew, but instead where she blew, but could see on her face she was just too little to understand. However as I watched her I learned a lesson of my own.
It’s a lesson I need.
We live in a time where there is so much that demands our time and attention. This isn't news to any of us! There is overabundance of stuff—stuff to do, stuff to read and be “up on”, and frankly a lot of the stuff out there just doesn't matter. Sometimes I feel like little Tillie, blowing and blowing and blowing (sometimes in any direction but that of my goals), but never see results. The lesson I learned by watching Tillie is the importance of focus.
Like little Tillie trying to make the pinwheel turn, blowing ever harder doesn't necessarily mean I am going to see the progress I want. Instead I simply need to focus and prioritize where I put my time and attention.
Last night as I was praying I imagined Heavenly Father looking down at me with the same smile that I have as I watch Tillie and the pinwheel. The point was driven home to me that there really are only a few things that matter most. If I am a good wife, mother, friend, and disciple of Christ, and focus my time and attention there first, I will be happy and bring others happiness too.
It's all about the focus.
Want more on focusing and prioritizing? Here are a few articles I love on the topic:
Monday, February 24, 2014
I can’t believe the Olympics are over. While I have to admit that I still don’t understand the scoring of most of the winter Olympic sports, there is a question that commentators asked over and over again that has made me think. It was asked before the opening ceremonies, was repeated throughout, and is still being asked after the doors to Sochi have been closed.
The question is, “Were these Olympics a success?”
I suppose the question most often refers to whether the events ran smoothly, whether athletes and spectators had a good experience, or whether the host country was represented in a positive light.
However I think most of us who watch the Olympics have a very different definition of a “successful Olympics". At least I do. I believe we watch the Olympics for something that is at the core of each of us, no matter our nationality.
I believe we watch the Olympics to feel.
We want to feel inspired—by humankind’s ability to push past its limitations. We want to feel strong—stronger than our bodies, and stronger than our drawn lines and political boundaries. We want to feel connected—whether it means sharing the exhilaration of victory or the heartache of shattered dreams. Mostly we just want to know that others are feeling too.
According to this definition, I think what happened at Sochi was a success.
These moments didn't only come during the competition, but were seen during training, warm ups, and while dealing with victory or defeat.
Here are some of the moments that made me feel during the 2014 Olympics:
Gold medal winner Dario Cologna of Switzerland finished his 15 km race in 38 minutes. He then waited for another 38 minutes until the very end of the race, when the race’s last participant, Roberto Carcelen, crossed the finish line, giving him a big congratulatory hug. For the full story click here.
Joss Christensen’s tweet shortly after winning gold, honoring his dad who had passed away just 6 months before. For the full story click here.
Noelle Pikus-Pace’s return from injury to compete and eventually win silver in the skeleton, somehow finding time to train to become an Olympian while raising two children. For the full story click here. Image via.
The sacrifice of Gilmore Junio, a Canadian athlete who believed that his fellow Canadian, Denny Morrison, had a better chance of medaling for Canada. So he dropped out and let Morrison compete in his spot. For the full story click here.
Nick Goepper's road to the Olympics. After his dad lost his job and was out of work for 2 years, Nick went door-to-door to find odd jobs so that he could save up enough money to continue to compete. For the full story click here. Image via.
The choice to place Irina Skvortsova in arguably the best seat in the house for the opening ceremonies. Skvortsova was injured in a bobsledding accident last November, and spent 11 months in a German hospital while undergoing over 30 surgeries to save her life. For the full story click here.
David Wise’s daughter’s reaction to her dad winning Gold as a freestyle skier. (And I can't help but mention that NBC called his lifestyle "alternative" because he was already married at 23 and had a 2 year-old daughter. Alternative?) For the full story click here.
A true expression of sportsmanship. When Anton Gafarov, a Russian cross-country skier, broke his ski in a fall on the course, he was determined to finish the race in front of his home crowd, even if it meant he had to walk to the finish line. However Canadian cross-country ski coach Justin Wadsworth wasn't going to let this happen, and ran to his aid, not only giving him a ski, but bending down to help him put it on. For the full story click here.
Norwegian cross-country skier Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen's comment after she just missed the medal podium, saying she was “the most satisfied fourth-place finisher at the Sochi Olympics” adding that "a lost medal isn't so important today. For me, it was a victory to race." Her race came just days after losing her brother Sten. After the race she tweeted a picture of her brother Sten with the words “Good as gold.” For the full story click here.
Alex Bilodeaus winning gold, and then showing us that he’s also winning in the more important competition of life with his brother Frederic. For the full story click here.
Thank you to all the athletes who let us feel something special over the last month.
There is no doubt that you made these Olympics a success.
Have a favorite Olympic moment from Sochi? Please share!
Sunday, February 23, 2014
I love how the scriptures give me perspective.
At every stage of my life I've felt like I had a lot going on, and a lot to juggle. Or maybe better said, no matter what I have going on in my life, it seems like there is always something clamoring for my time (sound familiar?). Sometimes I do a great job to make sure that I productively use my time, but at other times I waste the extra moments in my day.
What I've noticed is that when I make scripture study a priority in my life, I do a better job with the time I do have. It’s pretty amazing actually. It seems like no matter how stressed I am, or how little time I have to do something, when I spend time in the scriptures, I somehow have enough time and energy to do what I need to do. It gives me perspective on what needs my time and attention, and what I shouldn't be worrying about.
This quote about God giving us perspective hits it on the nail for me:
“When I take a small pebble and place it directly in front of my eye, it takes on the appearance of a mighty boulder. It is all I can see. It becomes all-consuming.... The Lord will take the pebble that fills your vision and cast it down among the challenges you will face in your eternal progress. It will then be seen in perspective. In time, you will feel impressions and know how to give further help. You will find more peace and happiness, will not neglect others that need you, and will be able to give greater help because of that eternal perspective.”
Richard G. Scott found here
I’m so grateful for the scriptures, and know that through them God gives me the perspective that I need.
I challenge you to try it too. Set aside some time each day to prayerfully study the scriptures, and see if they don't do the same for you.
Happy Sunday and xo,
Friday, February 21, 2014
Today I am 30.
This is me, circa 1984. It’s hard to believe that 30 years have passed, and now I’m the one taking pictures of my own babies. But can I admit it?—I have been looking forward to this day! There is something liberating and empowering about 30.
But as thrilled as I am to be 30, I have realized that I still need to grow up. Yes, even at 30. There are a few things that have weighed me down for too long, and it's time that I grow up.
In my 30's I intend to do just that, and put a few things forever behind me, like:
Worrying about what others think. Worrying about what others may (or may not) be thinking about me is never a good use of my time or energy. Happiness comes when I serve others and am grateful for the good life that I've been given.
Taking myself too seriously. Life is too good (and I have a feeling too short!) to be soooo serious.
Being jealous or tearing others down. Jealousy is damaging to me and my relationships, and no one’s a winner when I talk negatively about others. Not them, and not me. Being inspired and holding others in admiration builds us both.
Thinking that this life is about me. Marriage and parenthood have taught me one important lesson, the more I focus on making others happy, the happier I am too. (Sorry mom, I’m sure you've been trying to teach me this for the past 30 years, but I promise I’m starting to get it!)
And I have to say, there are also some things I hope I’ll never be too big or too old for, like:
Believing. I hope no matter my age or experiences I don't become jaded or suspicious or hardened, but keep fresh eyes and an open heart for the good in the world. There is so much of it!
Trusting my instinct. Sometimes I really do know what’s best for me.
Being like a little child. Yes, you heard me right. Playing and laughing, loving unconditionally, getting dirty, being humble and teachable, singing loud and dancing recklessly--without caring who is watching. Being like a child makes life good.
Standing up for what matters most. I hope I’m never too old to be a fighter—for my family, for my husband, and for my God.
Trusting God. Trusting that no matter how much I think I know, I have a Heavenly Father who knows so much more. He’s real and he loves me! And he’s bigger and stronger than anything that could stand in my way.
So here’s to the big 3-0. I welcome you with open arms and the hug of a dear friend! I can’t wait to take the weekend to dream big and make a bucket list of what I want to do and become in the next 30 years. No doubt at the top of the list will be two simple words. Grow up.
The 30-year-old, Lizzy
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Today I want to tell you about a hero of mine, who needs your prayers and help.
Her story began very similarly to mine.
I will never forget that day in the doctor’s office. The lights were dimmed, and I could feel the whir and the warmth of the ultrasound machine to the side of me. In place of the pleasant smile from the ultrasound tech, I saw the furrowed brow of the specialist as the words “we need to talk” fell like lead in my ears. My heart began to pound and my hands sweat as he shared the heavy news, I was pregnant with twins that only had a 50 percent chance of making it to viability. With those words I was pushed onto a rollercoaster of emotions that I rode day in and day out, clutching to my faith and hope that everything would be ok, whatever that meant.
Little did I know at that time, but a woman that would become a dear friend was receiving the same news.
Only a few months later I met Katie, and we both stayed in the same hospital just a few rooms down from each other. Though we rarely got to see each other face-to-face because we both had to stay strapped to monitors, knowing she was there gave me courage and motivation. While I was praying for my girls, Katie prayed for her little boys.
However as similar as our stories are, they were also different in some very significant ways, ways that make her one of my heroes. One of Katie’s boys had developed some complications that would likely require surgery immediately after delivery. She also had a rare condition that made her very uncomfortable during her pregnancy (as if sitting in a bed all day strapped to heart rate monitors wasn’t enough!). But through it all she fought to remain positive and full of faith.
A week after I delivered Jane and Clara, Katie delivered Jaxon and Kevin, two handsome baby boys. But as the doctors suspected, there were complications with little Jaxon’s development. And so for the last 6 months Katie has had to stay on her rollercoaster, hoping and praying that little Jaxon will pull through. I don’t know how she’s doing it, raising her older daughter and Kevin at home, while faithfully travelling to the NICU and spending time with Jaxon.
I love Katie, and love her little boys. My heart aches for the burden she’s carrying, and I am inspired by her dedication and optimism. She just doesn't stop fighting.
As I’ve thought of what I can do for my friend, I realized what made the biggest difference for our family was you. Your faith and prayers carried us. So today I want to ask you to share your faith and prayers for Katie and her family. They need the peace and comfort that prayer brings.
She has started a Facebook group where you can follow Jaxon’s story here, and if you want to donate money you can do so here.
Thank you for sharing your faith again and again. As you know it has made a difference in my life in a huge way.